AT&T and Verizon in Tie for Top-Performing Carrier in San Francisco

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RootMetrics Report: AT&T Data Speeds Show Moderate Improvement over August 2012 Report

Independent mobile analytics firm and consumer advocate RootMetrics™ announced today the latest San Francisco RootScore™ Report and corresponding RootScore Awards. The company provides free mobile performance information to help consumers make more informed decisions and improve their mobile lives. For the third time, RootMetrics noted that the Verizon and AT&T networks both had the strongest overall performances and shared a victory as top-performing carriers.

To mirror a typical consumer’s mobile experience in the San Francisco area, RootMetrics measured performance both indoors and outdoors, across all hours of the day and night, undertaking nearly 25,000 tests based on how people use their smartphones most frequently.

The Update on Mobile Performance in San Francisco
Throughout 2012, San Francisco benefited from carriers’ strong mobile performance. Heading into 2013, there’s more good news for consumers in the area who like to add pictures to Facebook albums, post videos to YouTube, or perform other tasks that require uploading data. The latest testing from RootMetrics shows AT&T and Verizon both offer remarkably fast LTE speeds.

AT&T and Verizon Share Data Victory in San Francisco
RootMetrics analyzed the test results in order to share real-world data with consumers on which carrier provided the fastest and most reliable data network, which carrier had the fewest blocked and dropped calls, and which carrier offered the fastest text service.

  •     Carrier Speeds: The RootMetrics data performance tests analyzed how fast each carrier’s network was able to download and upload files, as well as how fast and reliably each network could download email and load web pages or apps.

Sharing a victory in the data category, Verizon and AT&T performed strongly in the RootMetrics tests of network speed, email delivery, and web and app loading.

AT&T’s network delivered the fastest average download speed in San Francisco at 17.3 Mbps and an average upload speed of 8.1 Mbps. Verizon recorded an average download speed of 11.9 Mbps and the fastest average upload speed in San Francisco at 9.4 Mbps. T-Mobile delivered a 3rd place average download speed of 9.3 Mbps, with a much slower average upload speed of 1.9 Mbps. Sprint’s network was the slowest in San Francisco, providing an average download speed of 2.1 Mbps and a crawling average upload speed of 0.6 Mbps.

  •     Downloading Emails the Fastest in San Francisco

To provide some context around these data speeds, RootMetrics measured the average time it took to download a set of 10 emails during its testing in San Francisco. AT&T was the fastest, at 2.4 seconds, but Verizon was not far behind at 3.0 seconds. With average times above 7 seconds, Sprint customers could be waiting longer than friends on other networks for emails to download.

  •     Browsing the Web or Using Apps

In tests to load a typical webpage or app, RootMetrics found that AT&T and Verizon were fastest, at 0.4 and 0.5 seconds, respectively. T-Mobile was just behind those two carriers, at 0.7 seconds. Sprint trailed the pack at 2.3 seconds.

What this means to the consumer is if they decide to load an app or check the score of the Giants game on their phone, Sprint customers might be waiting longer than friends using other networks in San Francisco.

  •     Network Reliability Score: RootMetrics looks at two factors during its network reliability testing: 1) how often each carrier successfully connected to the network and 2) once connected, how reliable each carrier was at completing the speed tests, successfully downloading emails, and loading web pages and apps. Verizon achieved the highest Network Reliability Score at 99.0, with AT&T close behind at 98.9. T-Mobile’s score was 98.0, and Sprint trailed the group at 88.0.
  •     Call Performance: RootMetrics analyzed call performance by measuring both dropped calls and blocked calls (the inability to place an outgoing call). Call performance was strong across all carriers, but Verizon and AT&T had the strongest call results and shared a victory in the category.
  •     Text Performance: To replicate the most typical user experience, RootMetrics compared how long it took each carrier to send and receive text messages. San Francisco has great options when it comes to carriers with strong text performance. All carriers delivered texts in less than 10 seconds at least 92% of the time. Sprint’s network provided the fastest texting service, recording an average overall delivery time of approximately 2.9 seconds. All three of the other carriers weren’t far behind, with average times of 3.2 to 3.7 seconds.
  •     Overall: Both with strong overall mobile performance in San Francisco, AT&T and Verizon tied for first place in the combined performance category. The final results are:

1 – Verizon (94)
1 – AT&T (94)
3 – T-Mobile (86)
4 – Sprint (55)

The April 2013 San Francisco RootScore Report is the latest in an ongoing series of performance measurement reports and corresponding RootScore Awards from RootMetrics. The company will continue to publish additional reports for markets to help consumers make better decisions about the right carrier for his or her individual needs. Consumers who are interested to see how their network performs compared to other carriers in San Francisco or elsewhere can download the free RootMetrics CoverageMap app for iPhone or Android devices. Review all RootScore reports at

To evaluate the mobile experience in the San Francisco area, RootMetrics conducted 24,930 call, data, and text tests, covering all hours of the day and night from February 27 – March 05, 2013. The tests, designed to mirror a typical consumer’s mobile experience, were conducted using the RootMetrics RootScout™ app running on Android-based, off-the-shelf consumer smartphones purchased from carrier stores. To ensure that testing aligns with the consumer experience, RootMetrics conducts tests on activities that consumers perform most often: making phone calls, uploading and downloading files from the Internet, browsing the web and using apps, downloading email and sending and receiving texts. To reflect how consumers’ use their phones on a daily basis, tests were conducted both indoors (at 36 locations) and outdoors during drive tests (covering 1,087 miles).

Mobile performance varies depending on where people live, work, or otherwise spend time.
The results of this report, combined with the geographical coverage maps at and via the CoverageMap app, allow people to make better decisions about the right carrier for their individual needs.

About RootMetrics™
Based in Bellevue, WA, RootMetrics is an independent company that provides accurate and unbiased mobile performance data to consumers via coverage maps, market-specific RootScore Reports, and a free downloadable app for use on either Android or iOS devices. To ensure that RootMetrics testing reflects a typical consumer’s mobile experience, testing is conducted based on where, when, and how consumers use their devices most often. With data that is accurate and trusted by consumers and carriers, RootMetrics provides tools that empower consumers to find products and services that best fit their unique mobile needs.

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Ann Marie Ricard
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